SPREADING THE WEALTH: New York magazine has supplanted The New Yorker as the favored child of the American Society of Magazine Editors, as reflected by its big wins at this year’s National Magazine Awards, held Tuesday night in Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The city weekly took home five Ellies, the elephant-like bronze statues give to the honorees. The New Yorker, which usually comes away with enough Ellies every year to leave editor in chief David Remnick looking like Mark Spitz at the Olympics, was shut out for the first time since 1999, even though it had received nine nominations.
New York won for general excellence in magazines with circulation between 250,000 to 500,000. It also took home Ellies for design, helmed by design director Luke Hayman, who joined design firm Pentagram in December and most recently worked on Time’s redesign; for profile writing, for Vanessa Grigoriadis’ piece on Karl Lagerfeld, and for magazine section for its shopping service section, The Strategist. Nymag.com won the award for interactive feature.
National Geographic won two awards out of its five nominations, for general excellence for magazines with circulations over two million and for photography. Vanity Fair won two of its four nominations, for public interest, and columns and commentary for three columns by the always colorful Christopher Hitchens.
Esquire took home one award from its seven nominations in the reporting category — for its C.J. Chivers piece “The School” on the 2004 massacre at a grade school in the Russian town of Beslan. Competitor GQ took home an Ellie from its four nominations, for feature writing for Andrew Corsello‘s piece, “The Other Side of Hate.”
Jann Wenner‘s Rolling Stone won an Ellie for general excellence for magazines between one million and two million circulation. Wired took home general excellence for magazines between 500,000 and one million circulation, beating out Condé Nast Traveler, The Economist, Esquire, Gourmet and GQ. Finally, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — this year’s “What’s that?” ASME nominee — won an Ellie for general excellence for magazines under 100,000 circulation (the title last won an ASME in 1987).
This story first appeared in the May 2, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In women’s titles, Glamour took home an award for personal service for its guide to breast implants, and O, The Oprah Magazine won its first Ellie for a piece on leisure interests. Departures won an Ellie for a single-topic issue for its special on South America. Among the online awards, Beliefnet.com, an online resource for all things spiritual, beat out Businessweek.com, People.com and ESPN.com and Slate to win the Ellie for general excellence online, but BusinessWeek.com won for interactive service. — Stephanie D. Smith
LONG LIVE THE KING: Last year, Vanity Fair called Rupert Murdoch “King of All Media,” and with his unsolicited bid for Dow Jones & Co. Tuesday, he showed no signs of being dethroned. News Corp. revealed its interest in acquiring Dow Jones for $60 per share for all outstanding shares, which equates to approximately $5 billion. In a statement, Dow Jones said its board and trustees of the Bancroft family were evaluating the proposal. However, a Bancroft family representative later said there were enough shares against the proposal to stop the takeover.
Depending on what happens next, the bid could open up the floodgates for other big-money players, namely private equity. And Bloomberg was briefly mentioned as a counter bidder, although the company swiftly squashed such speculation. CNBC’s initial report Tuesday sparked a busy day of trading in Dow Jones stock, which traded up 55 percent. But having control over Dow Jones, which includes the Wall Street Journal, could come in handy when Murdoch launches his new business channel later this year — a media outlet he has called more “business friendly” than rival CNBC.
Murdoch is certainly known to like powerful platforms, as evidenced by his willingness to absorb years of losses at the New York Post. The Journal would no doubt bring out his more serious side (don’t expect a Page Six of the business world), although the newspaper in recent years has been expanding its softer features and coverage of the fashion world — not to mention chasing down those much-needed ad dollars.
It’s unclear whether Murdoch’s bid raises antitrust concerns. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment, but added that Murdoch and Dow Jones would be required to go through the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act process if the acquisition were completed. She added that the Justice Department had historically investigated mergers involving news organizations. — Amy Wicks
HEADING NORTH: Less than a year into his gig as vice president and editor in chief of New Ventures at the Washington Post Co.’s Newsweek Interactive, former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker has jumped ship to NBC News, where he will be senior vice president overseeing both television programming and Web content. “They approached me. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a change, but [NBC News president] Steve Capus gave me a call,” Whitaker said. “The more we talked, the more excited I got about working with him and his team.”
In his months as a digital media executive, Whitaker said, “I learned about how different a medium the Internet is, and that you have to respect it….I’ve learned that the Web is becoming multimedia, and video is going to become a big part of the Web. The Washington Post Co. and other companies are embracing video, but TV has a big head start.”
Whitaker’s first digital initiative at the company, the green lifestyle site Sprig, was launched just over a week ago; he said he had asked NBC to delay the announcement of his move for a week to avoid overshadowing the launch. The announcement also came on the day that Whitaker, a former president of the American Society of Magazine Editors, was slated to be a presenter at the National Magazine Awards.
“I’m 49 years old,” he said of his NBC appointment, “and I realize this is the last time I’m going to have a chance to start something new like this.” — Irin Carmon
THROW A STONE: Sharon Stone certainly made her presence felt at the first Smart Cookie Awards Monday night at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, which honored 11 mothers who extend their good work beyond their families. Wearing a black vintage dress for the occasion, Stone accepted her award with a flair for the dramatic. One audience member noted Stone’s acceptance speech could have doubled as a monologue in a movie. Stone said, “Sometimes I’m a better mother when I’m out there fighting for a good thing in the world because I’m making the world a better place for my children.” Other honorees included Mariska Hargitay, Marcia Gay Harden and Leigh Blake, founder and president of Keep a Child Alive, and Maria Otero, president and chief executive officer of ACCION International, an organization that provides small loans to women starting their own businesses. — A.W.